My rational thinking books of the year (Part 1)

30 Dec

This time of year the newspapers seem to be full of articles listing celebrities favourite books of the year, so I thought I’d join in. Although strictly it was published at the end of 2011, my 2012 rational thinking book of the year is ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.


Daniel Kahneman is one of the world’s most influential psychologists, who has led research on how we think for nearly forty year. In addition he won the 2002 Nobel Prize for economics. ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow” is an accessible summation of the literature on thinking that was spawned by Tversky & Kahneman’s seminal 1974 paper ‘Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases ‘. If you’re interested in teaching rational thinking you really should know about Kahneman’s work, and this book provides a great introduction that doesn’t require any background knowledge of psychology. For me, it provides the material for one of the components of my rational thinking curriculum.

I’d happily argue that graduates of any discipline ought to have a basic understanding of the content of this book. For most this might come by being taught the material, but for strong students I’d encourage them to read the book for themselves. It’s current available for £6.29 from, and I can think of many worse ways for students to spend any spare cash !

Reviews of ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow”

Association for Psychological Science 

New York Times

Financial Times

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